Shane Beamer was disappointed with South Carolina students on Saturday night. He wishes that they would have stayed for the entire game against Kentucky and expressed his thoughts during postgame.
Even if the third-year head coach’s request is completely fair, it shows a clear lack of awareness.
The South Carolina Gamecocks were 4-6 coming into the weekend. They are still below .500 after beating the Wildcats. They must beat Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers in the final week of the regular season to reach bowl eligibility.
Getting a fanbase to care about a program that may not even reach bowl eligibility is an uphill battle. Especially the students, who might prefer to party or hit the bars and watch other games on television than stand on bleachers for a game that finished with 13 punts, 16 penalties and just 31 points.
For Shane Beamer to want students to stay in the stadium for all sixty minutes is not unreasonable. To call on the student section for support is common among FBS head coaches at big-time programs.
However, the easiest way to guarantee fan interest is by winning ballgames. South Carolina did not do a very good job of winning ballgames through the first 10 games of the season.
As a result, there is a lot less interest. It’s pretty simple math.
Beamer gave credit to the crowd for being loud on Saturday. He praised the atmosphere. He professed his love for the student section.
However, when Beamer had a chance to thank the students for showing up to support a 4-6 team at all, he chose to nitpick them instead. His praise became criticism.
Even if it was warranted, Beamer should recognize the reason for their lack of interest. The Gamecocks are teetering on bowl eligibility. Winning more than four games through the first 10 weeks of the college football season might encourage students to stick around.